After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, many Cuban Chinese left the island and some established Cuban Chinese food restaurants in the United States, mainly in New York City and Miami. Some diners contend that Cuban-Chinese food is more Cuban than Chinese.
There are also other genres of Chinese-Latin and Asian-Latin food blends created by Asian migrants to Latin America over the last two centuries.
Traditional Cuban Chinese food should not be confused with the current trend of Chino-Latino fusion restaurants that have a modern fusion take on the blending of these two cuisine cultures.
The Chinese and Cubans are both fans of pork, and serve them as staple dishes. So it was only natural that many Chinese-Cuban specialties involve the “other white meat.”
Popular pork dishes include grilled pork chops in black bean sauce – that’s the Chinese black bean, not the Latin one, using fermented black soy beans. Also popular is a Chinese-Cuban roast pork using Chinese five spice and Chinese-Cuban spare ribs.
Rice is also a staple for both cultures. The Chinese in Cuba took local varieties of rice and cooked it in the Chinese stir-fry method in a wok, creating arroz frito, or fried rice. They also used the rice in a Chinese rice porridge, which is like a rice soup cooked with bits of meat and vegetables.
Other starches also include noodles for hearty soups, and dough to make wonton wrappers. Plantains, yucca and black beans are also featured in many Cuban Chinese dishes.
Seafood such as fish and shrimp also make up many Cuban-Chinese dishes. Often fish, such as red snapper, is served in the Chinese style of frying or steaming it whole, with the head included, using only the lightest of flavorings such as ginger, scallion, cilantro and lemon.
Popular vegetables include Chinese cabbage, turnip and bean sprouts.
Where to eat Cuban Chinese Food in the United States:
* Flor de Mayo (two locations)
484 Amsterdam Ave.
* La Caridad 78
2199 Broadway, at 78th
* La Dinastia
145 W 72nd St
* La Victoria China
2532 Broadway, at 95th St.
* Nuevo Jardin De China
Astoria, NY 11106
* El Crucero
7050 SW 8th St., Miami